Published: February 19th 2009August 22nd 2008
After getting off the train at the very crowded Tokyo station, I was caught up in intense feelings of excitement and before finding a place to stay for the night I felt like to had to go explore the city for a bit. I ended up walking around for about 2-3 hours with my backpack on in Hinjuku and saw a festival that included many traditional dances and mountains of street food. I made my way through a park and checked out one of the old shrines in the middle of the city for a bit and took everything in for a few moments.
My next task was to find the place where my fellow Youngdo teachers- Phil and Tami were staying at. They both flew into Osaka and we met up in Tokyo for some good times. We all went out to Shinjuku for a drink before being kicked out at 1AM on a Sunday night. It was probably better that way as we all woke up the next morning for a long day packed with sightseeing and awesome food. We kicked off the day by checking out the big red temple in Asakusa, the north eastern part of
Tokyo. From there Phil and I walked around the imperial palace to see where the emperor lives with his wife. We completed an entire lap around the palace in the rain and then dined on a tasty sushi dinner that had a rotating conveyor belt which forces you to think quickly and grab your rolls before they zoom by. Shibuya crossing was our next stop and we checked out all the numerous stores and did some people watching.
Later Phil and I faced a dilemma when we got back to the hostel that night. Do we go to sleep early and wake up at 4:30A to check out the fish market OR do we stay out all night and immerse ourselves in some Ruppungi nightlife? Life is so full of difficult decisions isnt it? Needless to say, we opted for the latter as Seoul provided us many early morning cap offs to a night out on the town. "Why should Tokyo be any different?" we reasoned. There wasn't much action that night since it was a Monday but somehow we ended up at a salsa joint and I got to eat a plate of ceviche that was reminiscent of
my days in Latin America. We ended up leaving at about 4:30 to see if the subway opened yet but quickly realized that we had an hour to go before the first train arrived. Suddenly, the sightseeing and action packed day caught up with us and we took an hour long nap outside of the subway station next to a homeless guy before the first train made its way towards our station. We awoke refreshed and energized after our short nap on the concrete surface and we felt an intense hunger in our stomachs for Tokyo's freshest sashimi! We were on our way to experience the highlight of our stay in Japan and it did not disappoint. Tuna and various other sea creatures were being transported by the cartload into the market as vendors were chopping, cutting and sawing away at all angles. Fish was being transported in huge carts that would have ran us over without a second thought had we been less careful about where we walked. After taking it all in for a bit, our hunger got the best of us and we found a sashimi stall and dined on our best breakfast yet. What a way
to cap off a night out on the town. That would be our final Tokyo experience and we were ready to head to Kyoto for the next few days.
There are more photos below